USTR Lighthizer Keeps Promise, Swiftly Initiates Investigation into Potential Chinese IP Violations

Four days after President Trump signed a memorandum directing the U.S. Trade Representative (“USTR”) to determine whether to initiate a Section 301 investigation of Chinese laws, policies, practices, or actions that may be harming the intellectual property rights of U.S. persons, USTR Lighthizer formally announced the initiation of an investigation on August 18, 2017.

The public is encouraged to participate in the investigation by submitting comments and appearing at a public hearing in Washington, DC. Comments and requests to appear at the hearing must be submitted by Thursday, September 28, 2017. The public hearing will be held in the main hearing room of the U.S. International Trade Commission (“USITC”) on Tuesday, October 10, 2017.

A notice, which was published in the Federal Register on August 24, 2017, identifies the specific types of conduct that will be investigated. These include:

  1. The Government of China’s (“GOC”) reported use of vague administrative procedures, requirements, and unwritten rules which pressure U.S. companies to transfer technologies to Chinese companies.
  2. The GOC’s acts, policies, practices reported to limit U.S. companies’ ability to set market-based terms in licensing and other technology-related negotiations with Chinese companies.
  3. The GOC’s direction and/or facilitation of Chinese companies’ investment in and acquisition of U.S. companies and their assets to obtain “cutting-edge” technologies and intellectual property.
  4. Any unauthorized intrusions into U.S. commercial computer networks or cyber-enabled theft of U.S. companies’ property by the GOC or the GOC’s support for such conduct.
Comments are also welcome on any other acts, policies and/or practices relating to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation described in President Trump’s memorandum that might be included in the investigation and/or addressed through alternative means.

Tags: China, IP, ITC, USTR